Google Chrome turns 4

Google Chrome turns 4

Back in September 2008, Google launched a beta version of its web browser, Chrome, into a highly competitive market that was primarily dominated by Firefox and Internet Explorer.

It’s hard to believe Chrome is 4 years old, isn’t it?

While it by no means put competing browsers out of business, Chrome did mix things up more than a little and was a driving force when it came to innovation on many fronts. Here’s a look at some of the great features Google has brought us during four years of Chrome development.

Speed and stability, coupled with a minimalist UI

When Chrome first launched, it was fast, and other browsers were quick to take note. Browser launch time felt near instantaneous, and many users were impressed by how quickly individual web pages loaded. This, in turn, encouraged Internet Explorer and Firefox to up the ante in terms of their own browsers’ speeds and load times. In this case, a little healthy competition helped improve the web browsing experience for just about everyone involved. Another great example of this was Chrome’s ability to isolate both plugins and tabs. If one plugin crashed, for example, Chrome would only kill the tabs that were using it; other tabs would keep running normally, preventing a rogue process or plugin from crashing the entire browser. In apparent response, Firefox later developed an identical feature.

To top it all off, Chrome’s interface was basic and clean, making web browsing a highlight rather than an afterthought. This appealed to a great deal of users who weren’t interested in lots of visible toolbars or setting options during their browsing experience. It continues to be a strong draw for people still on the fence about choosing a default, go-to browser.

Integration with other Google services

Do you have a Gmail account? What about a profile on Google+? The great thing about Chrome is that all of the Google services you use most have been integrated into your browsing experience. Signing into your Google account on Chrome lets you easily retrieve your bookmarks, history, plus your preferred settings on all of your Android devices. You have a lot of control over just how you want your browsing experience to be all at your fingertips, just by virtue of having a Google account.

Signing into Chrome is also a huge plus if you own or browse on multiple computers. Your bookmarks, web apps, and extensions you use won’t be stuck on one computer, since Chrome will save them for you to access on any machine that has it installed. The same goes for your preferred theme and browser preferences. All you need to do is sign in, and Chrome’ll do the rest.

The Chrome Web Store

Back in late 2010, Google launched the Chrome Web Store, a place where users could go to install various applications, browser themes, and extensions created by both Google and third party developers. This put it in direct competition with Mozilla’s Firefox Add-ons and really helped bring Chrome into the mainstream.

The Chrome Web Store is a great place to search for and discover new tools to make your browsing experience even better. Some of my personal favorites include Sumo Paint, a full-featured painting and image editing tool available directly in your browser; Pearltrees, a unique way to create a visual map of your favorite bookmarks; and Timeline Remove, a method by which to “turn off” your personal view of Facebook Timeline so you can enjoy your Facebook profile page the way you actually want to see it.

Chrome through the years

If those features weren’t enough, Google has created a page specifically to let users browse through Chrome’s various milestones and innovations by the year of their creation. Called the Chrome Time Machine, it’s a fun way to reminisce and see what features were developed when.

Happy birthday, Chrome! What are your personal favorite features on Chrome? Is there anything you’re hoping to see in future versions of Google’s web browser?

(Via Softonic FR)

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